Commentary

eBay Publishes its Diversity Numbers

Mar 24, 2017

EBay issued its 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Report yesterday, their first since the company spun off PayPal in 2015.

The numbers are consistent with what we've seen from other large, global tech companies: Their total workforce is 52% white, 40% Asian, 4% Hispanic/Latinx, 2% black and 1% other or mixed race respectively.

So, they've got some work to do.

The company has laid out a three-pronged strategy, that focuses on workforce - who and how they hire; workplace - what it’s like to work at the company; and marketplace - making sure diverse sellers, products and perspectives are succeeding on the platform. The entire report is worth a read. You’ll see some familiar names as key partners, like Code2040 who is helping them with their newly revamped intern program, and Unitive, a hiring platform which helps eliminate bias in recruiting.

But it’s also valuable in part because it reflects the voice and vision of Damien Hooper-Campbell, eBay’s first Chief Diversity Officer, who started last July.

This just-posted video of Hooper-Campbell’s star turn at the First Round Capital CEO Summit shows what a compelling figure he is. He takes the stage and leads the crowd through a series of diversity interactions with an amiable authority that tends to weaken the resistance of even the most skeptical leader. When I asked him what made him ready for the job besides his resume - he's worked at Uber, Google, and Goldman Sachs, among others - he answered without hesitation. "Being raised by a strong woman," he said. "Diane Winston was a single mother who instilled in me the confidence to be okay being who I am no matter how different I am." His life experience is also at work, citing his Guyanese father, growing up in racially polarized areas like Chicago's South Side and with family in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant, and thriving as one of eight black students in a Fairfield, Conn. county high school. (He was student body president, though he's not bragging.) "I'm comfortable with being a minority and helping other people see things differently."

That’s part of the energy he brought to the task of figuring out what shape eBay was in and where it needed to go next. “What you saw in the video is pretty much how I kicked off my listening tour,” he says of his first three months at eBay.

I caught up with Hooper-Campbell by phone after the report went live and he did not disappoint. Click through for my conversation with him and more analysis on the report, courtesy of raceAhead team members Stacy Jones and Grace Donnelly.

Have a boldly inclusive weekend, everyone.

On Point

The world's greatest leaders are diverse and ready to change the world

Fortune's annual list of the World's Greatest Leaders is out, and it is a treasure trove of diverse figures, highly effective leaders all. There are plenty of surprises but here are some folks near the top of the list: philanthropist Melinda Gates, film director and screenwriter Ava Duvernay, Tsai Ing-Wen, Taiwan's first female president, and athlete, philanthropist and megabrand LeBron James.

Fortune

What is Silicon Valley for?

This is the fundamental question of this powerful essay from Wired’s Emily Dreyfuss, who pulls no punches with her assessment that tech titans looking to solve big problems - like death - are looking for longevity in all the wrong places. Life extension, disease eradication, and mortality have received attention and funding from many bold-faced names, like Zuckerberg, Thiel, and Brin. “But over the past two decades, deaths attributed to inequality, isolation, and addiction have risen for both men and women without a college education in the US,” she writes. Where are the rich techies flocking in to solve these problems? “Are they really trying to extend everyone’s lives? Or just those of people already doing great?”

Wired

Mortality rates for white people without college degrees have soared in the last decade

They are called “deaths of despair.” The drug, alcohol and suicide rates for white men and women in the U.S. ages 50-54 have shot up compared to countries in Western Europe and Canada. The chart is a shock to the system. (Do click through.) The data is outlined in a new paper by economists Anne Case and Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton. From their paper: “In 1999, the mortality rate of white non-Hispanics aged 50-54 with only a high school degree was 30% lower than the mortality rate of blacks in the same age group. In 2015, it was 30 percent higher.”

Buzzfeed

'Hillbilly Elegy' author quits Peter Thiel, hooks up with Steve Case, and moves to Ohio to look for venture deals

J.D. Vance’s goal is to find business opportunities in places that get very little money or attention, which seems a better fit with Case’s Revolution LLC, which currently has over $1 billion in capital for companies at different stages of development, many in overlooked communities. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy, an unflinching look at poverty and despair in Kentucky and Ohio, became a best seller last year. Vance told the Wall Street Journal that he isn’t focused on specific industry sectors or geographies other than the “47 states” that receive 20% of the nation’s venture commitments.

Wall Street Journal

Uber’s Travis Kalanick met with Reverend Jesse Jackson to make a diversity pledge

The meeting was yesterday, some two months after the civil rights leader first encouraged the company to release their diversity data. "Creating a more diverse and inclusive company is a top priority and it starts with releasing our demographic data, which we will do very soon," Kalanick said in a statement emailed to Fortune following the meeting. Jackson has been pushing the issue of disclosure in tech for years. Uber’s diversity report will come two years after other tech companies began the practice.

Fortune

Special report: Black girls and women are going missing everywhere

This is the conclusion of a must-read report from Essence, one of the few publications that have consistently reported on the problem. It’s more complex than it appears, say many law enforcement officials, citing runaways fleeing abuse, or worse, neglected girls who become vulnerable to child traffickers and other predators. But others insist that neither the public or law enforcement are bringing the requisite urgency to the issue. According to the latest FBI data, as of February 2017, there is a total of 13,591 active missing person records for African American women stored in its National Crime Information Center (NCIC), more than half under the age of 18.

Essence

State Farm has a new ad out that is guaranteed to make you cry

It’s a tear-jerker for sure, and it has the extra benefit of making you think more deeply about the stories behind the cries for help that bombard us from advertisements, headlines, even the people we pass every day. Ultimately, it’s rallying cry for local voluntarism, so it will be interesting to check in to see how it went. But for now, it’s just a really cool video. I’m sure there’s something sharp to say about white allyship or liberal guilt, but I just don’t have it in me. Bring tissues.

YouTube

The Woke Leader

To be a professional of color means sometimes people think you’re the waiter

Rigoberto González, an award-winning poet and author, calls it “the bittersweet club.” It’s the one where you are highly accomplished and well regarded, but then something happens that reminds you that to the majority culture, you’re just as likely to be the hired help. It was at a dinner in his honor that he was first mistaken for a waiter on the way to the men’s room. “Over the years I had heard about such encounters from mentors and friends about that moment of honest misunderstanding or, at worse, of stereotypical assumptions about race and ethnicity,” he writes. (And yes, we do share these stories when we’re together.)  “The hard lesson is that respectability doesn’t protect us, and neither does being a part of a liberal space; being an academic or an artist doesn’t spare us the indignity of being devalued.”

Los Angeles Times

Changing corporate culture in Korea by changing the way you address people

Speaking of eBay, here’s a look at some of their Korean employees who are trying to master a new cultural norm: Addressing each other by their names, instead of their job titles. The initiative was born from a manager’s survey that suggested a change in communications protocol might help break down barriers and create a more horizontal culture. The video shows it was a little harder than it sounds, though everyone seems excited and amused, if a little awkward. Best wishes from your American friend, Senior Editor.

Vimeo

A powerful memoir written by an Ojibwa-Cree Elder is up for two awards

A Two-Spirit Journey, written by Ojibwa-Cree Elder Ma-Nee Chacaby, has been named a finalist for two important literary awards, the Lesbian Memoir/Biography category of the Lambda Literary Awards, and the Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature. The story is about her life in a remote Ojibwa community wracked by poverty, abuse, and alcoholism,  and described as a story “of enduring and ultimately overcoming the social, economic, and health legacies of colonialism.”

University of Manitoba

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